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Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics

Being and Politics: Seth Benardete

on Aristotles Metaphysics1

lthough he will not be remembered principally as an interpreter of Aristotle, Seth Benardete was much engaged with this
philosopher throughout his life of teaching and writing. He taught
seven graduate seminars on texts of Aristotle between 1968 and
1993, and published remarkable essays on De Anima and the
Metaphysics in the 1970s. Benardete approached Aristotle as a true
Socratic who philosophizes in a Platonic manner. The central
problem of philosophy is the soul, inquiry about which opens the
way to the nature of being. The way to the soul, however, must be
through the realm of opinion, and that means above all the political
phenomena of the arts, the laws, and the gods. The soul must be the
central theme of philosophy because all efforts to grasp the nature
of being directly fail, as Socrates relates in the autobiographical
discussion of the two sailings in the Phaedo. Indeed the elements
of first philosophy or wisdom seem to be incompatible. Even so, they
strangely exist together in the soul of the being that seeks wisdom.
Benardete saw that Aristotle employed his own version of the
Socratic-Platonic procedure of dividing and collecting those elements. The first approach to them for Socrates is to posit them as
separate ideas; their appearance of separateness, however, must be
abandoned in further inquiry. Similarly Aristotle seems to found
wholly separate sciences of distinct subject-matters, but on closer
examination one sees that the treatises contain diverging accounts of
the soul, nature, and being which demand to be put together. That
the task of combination is not finished by Aristotle, and is perhaps
not finishable, belies the traditional view that Aristotle understands
himself as attaining wisdom, and as proposing a metaphysics and


cosmology which, as distinguished from Platos, is unqualifiedly

separable from the quest for the best political order.2
Metaphysics and the Soul
Benardete notes a peculiarity of Aristotles Metaphysics at the
beginning of his essay On Wisdom and Philosophy: The First Two
Chapters of Aristotles Metaphysics A.3 After presenting critiques of
his predecessors in the first books of his Physics and De Anima,
Aristotle offers in the second books his own definitions of nature and
soul. The second book of the Metaphysics, however, seems to be
nothing but a series of questions (396). The inquiries of metaphysics
or first philosophy lack something self-evidently prior, such as soul.
Soul is even more self-evident than nature, Benardete writes in his
essay on De Anima. Soul alone is in being first for us first by nature.
The immediate access of the soul to itself permits a high degree of
accuracy in its investigation. Yet for all that it admits of precision it
still remains an object of wonder.4 Nature and soul are there
regardless of what anyone might say about them (Physics 193a3); but
without perplexity there is nothing to metaphysics. Metaphysics
seems to be the only science that in asking questions discovers all of
its own field, and so, in completing philosophy, somehow returns
philosophy to its origin in wonder (396). If the subject-matter of
metaphysics is questioning, then the soul as questioning provides the
access to its field. In a sense its subject is the soul as questioning, or
the soul as wondering. Accordingly, metaphysics as inquiry about the
principles and causes of being has special regard for the being of the
soul as wondering. A form of psychology centering on the being of
wonder is the core of metaphysics.
In De Anima the soul studied with precision is not the soul as
wondering, but the soul as knowing. Crucial to the account is
phantasia, as the link between the noetic and the aesthetic as well
as between thought and desire. But the discussion does not disclose
what makes these linkages possible; De Anima lacks a causal account
of the unity of the soul. The aporia of the Physicshow does the
realm of unchanging form relate to nature as the realm of
change?is still its aporia. The precise account of soul cannot be

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics

a causal account. It shows the that of the powers of the soul, but
only incompletely the why. The focus of the account is on the
now: what is, or can be, actual to the soul at any moment.
Phantasia operates in the soul nearly always, even in dreams, but
wonder is a passing condition. The path to being may be through
wonder as the key to the unity of the soul, yet that key is strangely
not a permanent feature of the soul, found in every now. There
may be an important connection between De Animas abstraction
from wonder and its abstraction from the question of causal unity.
Both are central themes of the Metaphysics. De Anima comes to
the threshold of first philosophy by treating the highest condition
(self-thinking) of the highest part of the whole (the rational soul)
but it does not pass over the threshold.
Perhaps wonder involves a special case of phantasia. In De
Anima phantasia is the prime evidence for the peculiar double
nature of the mind. Mind is receptive to the noeton, considered apart
from the whole, but at the same time the mind is open to all beings,
to the whole as such. In light of the minds universal openness it is
hard to grasp how the mind can have any distinctive nature, or how
it can be anything except pure possibility. But the mind must be
capable of an active initiation of thought. Knowing is negativity,
insofar the mind grasps the sensible particular not just as itself, but
as an instance of noetic form, and hence as other to itself. Straightening chalk lines so they can be read as pure lines of geometry entails
seeing the arbitrariness of the sensible. But if intellection is only the
reception of the noetic, another power must come to its aid to carry
out the transformation of the sensible. Phantasia does this by
suspending the truth-claim of the sensible and converting I see a
man into It seems to be a man. It allows the sensible image to be
viewed just as image. This power enables the mind to be both turned
toward itself and open to the whole of being. Phantasia can try to be
complete in itself, since its dwelling on the appearance as appearance seems to free it from being, but its reading of being as only
image presupposes the recognition of being. When it serves intellect,
phantasia allows the intellect to find the noetic in the sensible, and
its suspension of the given is only a step toward understanding.



Yet the two actions are inseparable, and thus the rational animal
is characterized by a problematic freedom. This account of
phantasia surely has an important connection with poetry, and in
the Metaphysics poetry is related to wonder.
But De Anima makes none of these connections. Outside its
purview lies a deeper negativity than that of seeing the image as
image, and therewith also a deeper doubleness of the mind. Poetry
and philosophy address these issues as rivals; it is only fitting that the
problem of doubleness should have a twofold solution. By abstracting from such issues the account of De Anima proves to be, in more
than one sense, less than poetic.
Freedom and Necessity
In chapter one of Metaphysics A the examination of opinions
about wisdom and knowledge substitutes for the lack of the selfevidently prior. The first phenomena of opinion are the delight in
effortless acquisition of knowledge, and admiration of those
manifestly superior to ourselves in knowing. Delight and admiration share selfless freedom from calculation. But the absence of
calculation and ratiocination, which characterize the arts as
knowledge of causes, is a deficiency in the natural desire to know.
As emerges later, philosophic wonder includes both selfless
delight and the self-regarding concern with cause, and thus
wonder as complex comes to light through partial perspectives on
it. (By contrast Heideggers exclusion of calculation from openness to being impoverishes the complexity of the origin of philosophy.) At first the choice of sight, as the most revelatory of the
senses, and the reasoning of the arts seem wholly unrelated.
Similarly the delight in seeing and knowing, which is always present
and at work, is not the same as the desire to learn. To love wisdom
is not in the same sense natural as this delight (397). The natural
delight is indiscriminate, non-hierarchical, and satisfied by the
noting of any differences, being only the most satisfying filler
of our idle moments. It seems that humans are either idle or
laboring, with these opposites seeming to form no natural unity.
Benardete quotes from the Politics: Man is by nature the

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


political animal. Clearly this sense of the natural points away from
the idle desire to know. Art and calculative reasoning are related to
political life through their common conditions: speech and the
division of labor. The introduction of the arts and therewith the city
in the Metaphysics brings into view the soul as a needful being. Yet
speech is dual, as both the articulation of the beings and as means of
communication. It is doubtful that human communities came into
being for the sharing of knowledge, even if they arose in a noncalculative way. Thus in the Socratic dialogues philosophic conversion is the rare coincidence of the two sides of speech. The duality
of speech can be restated as the duality of the human as such: As a
kind (anthropos) man is political; as individual (pantes anthropoi) he
desires to know (397-98). The difference between the human as
kind and the human as individual is reflected in the difference
between genesis and telos in the city. Since speech is not accidentally
related to knowledge, perhaps knowledge as that which alone is
truly sharable, is the ultimate ground for human society. But
ultimate end and temporal origin, or the eidetic and genetic orders
of being, are not the same (although poetry seeks to identify them).
The city as an association of freemen could thus be a divination of
the freedom that belongs preeminently to the highest kind of
wisdom (398). Modern criticisms of the Aristotelian account of the
free life of theoria claim that it is a mere prejudice, rooted in the
vanity of an aristocratic nomos. But this stance willfully denies the
natural force of the difference between the free and the needful, and
thus supposes that human incompleteness, being an accident of
circumstances, can be remedied by human self-production.
For Aristotle the duality is so basic that it is evident in sight itself,
which is at once the most pleasant and the most useful of the senses.
Sight more than other senses reveals wholes, and wholeness is the
object of both eros and knowing. Sight as both most needful and
most delightful perhaps reflects the fact that form (eidos) too, is a
cause (398). The connection of sight with eidos may relate to its
freedom, for in choosing sight most of all senses, we perfect natural
desire. This account of sight runs contrary to the tragic wisdom of the
poets, since the freedom of sight, our ability to turn it on or off at



will, relates to its power to put the greatest distance between

ourselves and whatever it brings to light. Oedipuss self-blinding
seems to indicate the impossibility of such cognitive distance, as if
the tragic hero always sees and so always intends to act. To dream
(horan) is also to see (398). Even so, wisdom cannot be understood
without art, and hence without poetry, for art is the index of the
human difference. Some animals live solely by perception, and
others need memory and instruction. But the human not only
supplements the given with experience; it perfects experience with
art. The greater admiration accorded to the expert over the
experienced amateurto the botanist over the gardener with a
green thumbattests to widespread intuition of art as the mark
of human superiority. We esteem inventors more than their
inventions, since utility is not the highest ground of esteem.
Aristotle exaggerates the separation of experience and the arts in
order to bring out the element of luxury in the arts. This exaggeration, it could be said, is reflecting the tendency of opinion to look
away from possible connections between the beautiful or useless
on the one hand and human neediness or incompleteness on the
other. Although the arts may be a sign of human superiority, they
would not exist without human incompleteness. Man seems to be
more incomplete than any other animal (399).
Notably absent from chapter ones list of ways of knowing is
prudence. Benardete observes that the unification of prudence with
the other characteristics of wisdom, discussed in chapter two,
remains a question. Prudence is neither art nor science, but it
unmistakably arises out of the useful, such that the beauty and
freedom of precise knowing are alien to it. All the same, it has a
comprehensiveness of vision unavailable to any of the specialized
arts. Prudence points to the central perplexity of wisdom: how to
combine comprehensiveness with precision. If prudence is more
closely allied to the useful than to the free, then comprehensiveness
comes to light more readily from the standpoint of the useful. But the
account of wisdom stresses the requirements that relate to free and
precise knowing. Accordingly, it can be doubted whether wisdom
thus described attains true comprehensiveness.

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


Art and History

Benardete follows Aristotle in taking up another aspect of the
contrast between art and experience. Art grasps the universal and is
therefore teachable; experience is always attached to the particular,
and is deaf and dumb. Art discovers causes with universal insights
which demote experience. In its own eyes, art has no history
(399). With art the mind reaches a plane above the genetic series of
perception, imagination, memory and experience. One recalls
Aristotles account of the double sense of ousia as concrete whole
and essence. Benardete notes that for experiences particularism
Socrates is accidentally man whereas for arts universalism Man
is accidentally Socrates (400). For Aristotle both are right and both
are wrong. The Republic shows how the identification of justice with
art in the exchange with Thrasymachus leads more directly to
philosophy than the appeal to experience by Cephalus. Yet experience as the cognitive counterpart to virtue is closer to character.
Philosophy acknowledges the claims of both art and experience,
Aristotle could be saying, since in order to grasp the universal one
must reason and live as a particular being, as Socrates or as Glaucon.
If that is so, when art makes the turn to philosophy it can no longer
ignore its own history. Aristotle introduces his account of the causes
by relating the history of their discovery. Yet art and history never
simply coincide, and no practitioner of an art can fully explain how
he attained his insights. Even the highest science has conditions in
incommunicable experiences.
Thus it is not surprising that even within the arts themselves this
duality appears. The opinion that the arts more removed from need
are closer to wisdom rendered mathematics and poetry supreme
among the arts in early times. But apart from impracticality the two
have little in common: mathematics is eminently teachable and
poetry is held to be unteachable and impossible without inspiration.
Both lack the knowledge of causes which originates in the useful
arts. Thus the contrast of communicable art and incommunicable
experience gets complicated by the other contrast of the free and the
necessary. The contrasts do not coincide. The human delight in
knowing can detach the universal from the origin of its discovery in



need. But the arts of leisure which thereby rise above the
mechanical arts do not form a true whole. The disparity of
mathematics and poetry indicates the illusion of supposing that
wholeness is inherent in free activity, since freedom remains
divided between the teachable and the unteachable, the precise
and the allusive. The free delight in knowing still exhibits features
of human incompleteness. To advance toward true wholeness,
thinking must return to the level of causes, hence back to the
needful. But for Aristotle there is no smooth sailing in such a
return. Benardete observes: Even if poetry were irrelevant for
wisdom, a wisdom that just combined the theoretical character of
mathematics with the knowledge of causes the arts contain seems
to be something of an oxymoron. Aristotle famously denies the
possibility of a mathematical physics (401). That the kinds of
knowledge found in mathematics, poetry, and the arts that
discover causes may be uncombinable is special cause for wonder.
Aristotles text provides an occasion for wonder and thus performs an action instantiating the theme of its argument.
Benardete points to the political counterpart of this aporia.
Political life makes possible the transformation of universal natural
curiosity into the arts of leisure. Leisure is the political equivalent of
the free play of the senses. But there would be no leisure without the
productive arts that satisfy primary needs, and it is from the knowing
of these arts that causes were first understood. The knowing for
which the city exists, its telos in arts of leisure, is not the knowing that
brings the city into being. Final cause and efficient cause are
disjunct. Benardete remarks the nature of the knower and the
nature of knowledge seem not quite aligned with each other (401).
It is appropriate here to think of the two great achievements of
modernity, mathematical natural science and liberal democracy,
each of which claims to overcome that misalignment through uniting
the free and the productive, or the useless and the causal. Aristotle
is the skeptic, not Descartes nor Kant, about whether the nature of
the knower and the nature of knowledge can be brought into accord.
The modern solutions rest on the claim that the object of knowledge
must conform to conditions set by the knower or, very crudely put,

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


that we know only what we make. The hope is that the mind as
productive can overcome its internal divisions. By contrast Aristotle
separates the insight, to which the arts give access, of what knowledge is, from the way in which the arts apparently make over the
natural to serve human needs (401). Aristotle presses to the point
of paradox the view that the productive arts are not primarily
directed to production. Thus the edifying Aristotelian claim that
art is not the conquest of nature but rather its imitation or completion leaves unresolved the relation between origin and telos. The
perfection or completion of which human nature is capable must
rest on uncertainty about that relation. Here is the deeper version of
the problem of phantasiathe relation of the noetic to the aestheticemerging on the level of the arts and politics, which level
involves the confrontation with human neediness.
The Requirements of Wisdom
The second chapter of Metaphysics A takes up the diverse
opinions about the wise man and compresses them into three
pairs of oppositions. Benardete claims that the incoherence of
these characteristics, or at best their lack of mutual implication,
preserves the truth that no known science can satisfy all that
opinion demands of wisdom (401-2). The science fulfilling those
demands would be the most comprehensive science and the most
difficult science, the most precise science and the science uncovering the highest causes, the science sought for its own sake and
the science of the good. All these characteristics except the
concerns with causes and the good point to mathematics. Mathematics among the sciences most exemplifies the natural desire
for knowledge while not indicating the content of wisdom, since
mathematics does not reflect on the whole as such. Its kinship
with play, as witnessed in the myth of its origin in Palamedess
games, brings forth the tension between play and seriousness
(403). The beautiful of mathematics is not the good. These
elements are found together in the souls of some seekers of
wisdom, like Socrates, but no actual science brings them together. The nature of first philosophy can be approached only



through the nature of the knower, or rather through the diverse

natures of knowers, whose characteristics are seldom found
together in one knower. Questioning whether a science of first
philosophy is possible, Benardete notes that if realized, such a
science would have all its principles present to itself, and be
without potentiality (403). It would possess certainty that there
are four causes and no others. If Aristotle had such a science, why
would he need the history of thinking about causes to establish
that there are only four and that he has not overlooked a fifth?
Furthermore, can knowledge of the subordinate kinds of being
have the precision and completeness of the knowledge of the
highest genera? Benardete asserts that the principles of knowledge cannot but must be the same as the principles of being.
Aristotles use of ousia for both beingness and a being places this
perplexity in being itself (404).
Knowing at the highest level would bring together contemplative knowing for its own sake and causal knowing of the good. This
would be the self-knowing that knows why knowledge for its own
sake is good, and that grasps the reason for the desire to know.
Benardete notes that this highest knowing is foreshadowed in
wonder, which oddly was not introduced at the start of Metaphysics,
although it is the condition for the pursuit of wisdom. The reason for
this postponed entrance, Benardete suggests, is that wonder is
linked to poetry, which conveys a false conception of wonder.
Therefore Aristotle first offers essentially true opinions about wisdom that allow him to separate philosophic from poetic wonder. I
offer a related suggestion. Aristotle first discloses the problem of the
conflicting requirements of philosophic wisdom before turning to
poetic wisdom, which claims to have a unified account of the whole.
He thereby plants the seeds of doubt about any claims to possess
such wisdom, prior to bringing poetrys claim on the scene. The
doubt about the poetic claims will then apply just as well to the poetic
view of wonder.
Philosophy and Poetry
Aristotle is now ready to expose the two elements of wonder: it is

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


a selfless condition related to the natural desire to know and a

certain kind of conscious neediness (aporia) related to the
causal thinking of the arts. The desire to know is an indiscriminate greediness to transform the opaque into the plain (information); but wonder is the recognition of the opaque in the plain. The
wonderful is that which shows the hiddenness of the unhidden. It
is every that which seems to be in itself a why? when seeing is not
believing, and the given is a question. The wonderful is a beautiful
perplexity (404). Philosophic wonder turns toward that which is
closest to us and thus most plain, namely, the soul, but discovers
an opacity in it which then colors everything given. In its erotic
pursuit of this perplexity, philosophy is a paradoxical combination
of the self-regarding and the self-forgetting. But the ordinary
desire to know is turned away from the perplexity of the soul, since
it delights only in what can be made transparent. Poets, however
are not wholly unlike philosophers. They wonder also at the given,
but they wonder even more at what they make. Wonder is more
the result than the starting-point of the poets activity. Mythic or
poetic wisdom is the enigmatic solution to the enigmatic (405).
Poets are in error in thinking that the wonders of poetic making
exceed the natural wonders of experience and thought. Perhaps
the poets are liars only because they cover over a truth at the basis
of their activity. If the greatest wonder is the soul itself, then
surely the poets wonder at the soul, but their manner of wondering tends to obscure what is wonderful about it. Since poets do not
toil they exhibit the freedom of wisdom, but poetry as a productive
art serves the city as the community of the arts of the necessary
(405). Their freedom obcures the foundation of their art in need
and so obscures the nature of knowledge more than other
productive arts. But even in this problematic unity of freedom and
necessity, poetry is more comprehensive than other arts. Poets
address the character of the whole, but they think that making is
the ground of the whole, and so they conceive the gods as efficient
causes. But a whole grounded in making is unintelligible, since
production presupposes incompleteness and the existence of
some sort of whole is a condition for incompleteness. That the



poets think of the gods as needy is apparent from their claim that
the gods are jealous of human seekers of wisdom. The poets
therefore do not admit, or perhaps do not care, that the beings
they portray as both whole and needy are contradictory.
But again, poetic wisdom is not baseless. The togetherness of
freedom and necessity in the state of wonder is not simply a natural
state, but a special condition of the soul. This observation could lead
to the poetic conclusion that the soul is not naturally a unity. It is hard
to claim that the poets are altogether wrong in this. Aristotle subtly
indicates that the unity of soul described in De Anima is not the soul
as such, but an abstraction. Poetry corrects that abstraction by calling
to mind how rare are the high experiences which assuage the souls
normal condition of incompleteness and longing. But the poets are
too impressed by their temporary triumphs and do not reflect
sufficiently on the enduring causes of the souls disunity, or what
Aristotle calls the natural enslavement of human nature. Philosophy
strangely finds great satisfaction in dwelling on the causes of
perplexity and in resisting every alluring prospect of a solution that
would gratify without altering the underlying causes. Every elevation of the human condition presupposes that we remain only
human, and otherwise has no meaning. Thus for the philosophers
no poetic solution of human problems can possibly be more
wonderful than the enduring forces in human nature that resist
poetic solutions.
The poets believe that they, or the gods as poets, make the world
into a home for the soul. Poetry is the house of being. By contrast,
philosophic wonder is permanently homeless. Benardete says it
induces homelessness without nostalgia (405)5a formula that
evokes how the soul as thinking is both near to and distant from
what it thinks about, and so exposes the connection between
phantasia and wonder. Benardete calls phantasia the power of
virtual distancing: the noeton is made just distant enough so as to be
seen as part of a larger whole.6 Thus the distance of wonder is
grounded in familiarity with things, not in flight into abstraction.
Poetry, too, rests on virtual distancing, but also annuls the distance of
things by anthropomorphizing the whole. It reveals a kind of

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


phantasia essential to being human, even so, for it allows the human
to appear as a kind of whole amidst other things in the whole. It
creates a larger setting for the human in which, admittedly, everything revolves around human concerns. It is easy to see why the poets
regard their making as so important, since this power of imaginative
self-distancing is in most human beings too artless to be very
effective. Art transcends ordinary nature in order to fulfill it. Poetic
invention is therefore not one of the ever-present powers of the soul
in De Anima.
The human need for self-distancing points back, again, to
human incompleteness. It is human for individuals to want their
projects to have some necessary place in the whole of things, and for
them to endow the particular and contingent with the aura of the
universal and the necessary. This is the dark side of the beautiful of
poetry, which receives no acknowledgment in the natural delight in
seeing and knowing. One could call it the original negativity, the
primordial difference between genesis and telos which the poets
believe their making can overcome. It is the negativity that marks the
human as political animal, and Aristotle shows that it is the permanent rift underlying the inquiries of first philosophy. Yet philosophic
wonder is not animated by Angst. Benardete notes it is neither
painful nor pleasant. It neither compels nor entices. There is
nothing in it to be feared from which one runs away or which roots
one to the spot (like awe), nor does it have the natural attractiveness
of seeing (405). Philosophy can be seen as good, akin to the divine,
and even as such immune to divine jealousy, if the highest beings
are causes only as final cause, and their causality is compatible with
their being for their own sake (406). Philosophic wonder is content
with the separation between the being of the highest beings and
their being as cause. The same separation allows Aristotle to affirm
that the origin of philosophy is only accidentally at a certain stage
of history. The fortunes of political life and the discoveries of
philosophy cannot be identical, or even causally related in a philosophy of history. They are necessarily linked, all the same. The cause
of philosophy is the effect of the good.



The problem of being cannot be articulated by turning directly to
being. Aristotle follows the Socratic turning to logoi by uncovering the elements of first philosophy in the phenomena of human
opinions about experience, arts, states of soul, and their relations
to wisdom. No science seems capable of meeting the demand
revealed by this examination: to encompass the free and the
necessary, the precise and the comprehensive, the eidetic and the
genetic. Yet somehow the togetherness of these components is
adumbrated in the soul as wondering. The souls nature contains
a perplexity that can seem ugly or beautiful: a certain lack of
alignment between the nature of the knower and the nature of
knowledge. The perplexity of soul is, however, the perplexity of
being itself: the separation between the being of intelligibility and
the being of causality, or between the beautiful and the good. The
soul brings these together through its activity. In striving to
understand the relation of eidosbeingness or essence as known
preciselyto the coming into being of beings, the soul is the bond
of being. To figure out an insight might well be the epistemic
equivalent of the union of causality and beingness (397). The
misalignment, arising first for us in political life, is not even seen
by the natural pleasure in noting differences and is deeply
experienced but not healed by poetry. Philosophys careful articulation of it discloses its benefit to the soul. The philosopher
understands that the rift in being exercises causality as final, not
efficient, by making possible the best human life, that of inquiry.
The case is not unlike that of the geometrician who grasps the
cause (aitia) of the incommensurability of the squares diagonal:
he would wonder at nothing as much as if the diagonal were to
become measurable (Metaphysics 983a15-21).
Richard L. Velkley
The Catholic University of America

Seth Benardete on Aristotles Metaphysics


1. In its original form this essay was a paper delivered at The
Philosophy of Seth Benardete, a conference at the New School
University, December 2002.
2. Leo Strauss, The City and Man. Chicago: The University of
Chicago Press, 1964, 21. Benardetes writing on Aristotle poses a
challenge to Strausss claim that Aristotelian philosophizing has
no longer to the same degree and in the same way as Socratic
philosophizing the character of ascent. On Benardetes reading,
Aristotles presentation of his thought in treatise-form is a new
mask under which the Socratic dialectic proceeds. For more
remarks on this see the authors Prelude to First Philosophy:
Seth Benardete on De Anima, Epoche, vol. 7, no. 2 (spring, 2003),
3. The essay first appeared in Review of Metaphysics 32, no. 2
(December 1978) and is reprinted in S. Benardete, The Argument
of the Action: Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy, eds. R.
Burger and M. Davis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,
2000. Numbers in parentheses give the pages from the reprinted
4. Aristotle De Anima III.3-5, Review of Metaphysics 28, no.
4 (June 1975), 621. For more discussion of this essay see the authors
article cited in note 2 above.
5. Benardete cites here Plato, Symposium 203d11. The dual
nature of Eros in Socratess speech (as the child of Poros and Penia)
calls for comparison with Aristotles account of the dual nature of
wonder. Both presuppose human incompleteness.
6. Aristotle De Anima, 616.